a Worcestershire family consisting of four brothers and three sisters. The death of Southey’s close friend Edmund Seward in 1795 was followed by that of his brother John (educated at St John’s College, Cambridge, MB 1795, and physician to the Worcester infirmary) in December 1797. Some time afterwards, the eldest brother, William (a lawyer, based in Ledbury, Herefordshire) shot himself. A fourth brother, whose name Southey does not record, was a ‘mere farmer’ of a ‘methodistical turn’. Of the sisters, one married Mr Severn (a clergyman) and two remained unmarried. In the mid 1790s, Southey was on good terms with most — if not all — of the siblings and corresponded with at least Edmund and one of the Seward sisters.